Historically, spices are treasured for the unique flavors they bring to food and for their healing properties.
Most spices provide some health benefits.
But one spice that shines for its medicinal benefits is turmeric.
You may have seen turmeric in the news as a potential treatment for diseases as diverse as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s.
But does this spice live up to its press?
And can you get the benefits of turmeric from food alone or should you take a turmeric supplement?
Turmeric and curcumin are often used interchangeably. What’s the difference between them?
Here’s everything you need to know about the health benefits of turmeric.
Traditional Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a beautiful flowering tropical plant native to India.
Cooking residue found on pottery shards shows that people in parts of Asia cooked with turmeric 4,500 years ago. (2)
It is one of several spices used to make curry powder, an essential ingredient in south Asian cuisine.
It’s usually used dry, but the root can also be grated fresh like ginger.
It was applied externally for wounds and skin conditions.
It was also used as a beauty treatment. (5)
Soaps and creams containing turmeric are experiencing a surge in popularity today.
Turmeric paste is still applied to the skin of both the bride and groom in a ceremony before marriage in some parts of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan to beautify skin and as a form of good luck.
The Relationship Between Turmeric and Curcumin
Many websites, even authoritative medical sites, incorrectly use the terms turmeric, curcumin, and even curry powder interchangeably.
This makes it hard to understand the information on turmeric.
Let’s clear up any confusion.
Curry powder is a mix of many spices including the spice turmeric.
Turmeric contains hundreds of compounds, each with its own unique properties.
But of all the compounds in turmeric, curcumin is by far the most promising and is the most widely studied.
Curcumin is not unique to turmeric, it is also found in ginger, another spice with a long history of medicinal use.
You can find many websites that make unrealistic claims about turmeric.
A few natural health websites boldly state that turmeric has been proven beneficial for over 600 ailments.
But the vast majority of studies were done on the isolated compound curcumin, not turmeric.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says this about turmeric studies: “… there is little reliable evidence to support the use of turmeric for any health condition because few clinical trials have been conducted.” (6)
Why would this be?
It’s easier to study a compound like curcumin which can be isolated and standardized and acts more drug-like than spice-like.
But the overriding reason may be that there is little monetary incentive to research a spice that’s already found in millions of kitchens worldwide unless it can be transformed into a substance that can be patented.
Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric
As we’ve seen, the majority of studies have been done on curcumin — not turmeric — and it looks like there aren’t many health conditions this compound won’t help.
Proven health benefits of curcumin include alleviating allergies, breaking up the brain plaques of Alzheimer’s, easing the pain of arthritis, treating depression, controlling diabetes, and decreasing risk of heart attack. (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
But what about turmeric — what is it good for?
And studies point to a few specific conditions that turmeric can help.
Turmeric for Alzheimer’s
One of the most exciting benefits of turmeric is that it may prevent Alzheimer’s.
Elderly villagers in India who eat turmeric as a regular part of their diet have the lowest rate of Alzheimer’s in the world. (17)
Over 200 compounds have been identified in turmeric and curcumin is not the only one being studied for Alzheimer’s. (18)
Another compound in turmeric, turmerone, stimulates the production of new neurons and seems to encourage the brain to repair itself. (19)
Turmeric for Arthritis
Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases are extremely common.
Over $650 million is spent in the United States every year on natural remedies for treating chronic inflammation.
The Arthritis Foundation reports that turmeric can provide long-term improvement in pain and function for those with osteoarthritis.
Their suggested dosage for osteoarthritis is to take one capsule (400-600 mg) three times per day or 0.5-1.0 gram of powdered turmeric root up to 3 grams per day.
Turmeric for Cancer
It selectively kill tumor cells while leaving normal cells unharmed and works synergistically to increase the effectiveness of both chemotherapy and radiation. (23)
Dr. Saraswati Sukumar is a medical oncologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has been involved in hundreds of studies on the effects of turmeric on cancer. (24)
She has found that eating turmeric prepared in food provides more benefits than taking either curcumin or turmeric supplements. (25)
Turmeric Is Better than Prozac for Depression
Turmeric has impressive antidepressant properties.
In fact it’s been found to be more a more potent antidepressant than fluoxetine, the generic name for Prozac. (26)
It is believed to work by reducing the stress hormone cortisol while increasing serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with happiness.
This is great news for the millions who have tried antidepressants without success or for those who experience unacceptable side effects (27)
Unlike antidepressant drugs, turmeric either in food or as a supplement can used indefinitely.
Enhancing Turmeric Naturally
Unfortunately, turmeric’s main active ingredient curcumin is not very well absorbed.
Unless the right steps are taken, it largely passes through the intestines unutilized.
You can greatly increase absorption by adding black pepper, as is done in curry powder.
The compound piperine found in black pepper increases curcumin absorption by a whopping 2,000%. (29)
Since curcumin is fat soluble, its bioavailability is enhanced when turmeric is cooked in oil. (30)
Again, tradition has this covered.
Turmeric tea is a great compromise between to trying to get enough turmeric into your daily diet and taking supplements.
Boiling turmeric in water for 10 minutes increases the solubility of curcumin up to 12 times. (32)
The people of Okinawa, Japan are the longest-lived in the world, with an average life span of 81.2 years.
To make basic turmeric tea, put 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain if needed and serve.
If you actually enjoy it, you’re in luck because not everyone is crazy about it.
It’s very bitter and medicinal-tasting.
I’ve been experimenting to find a recipe that’s both healthy and delicious.
This recipe is tasty and assures maximum bioavailability by both heating and adding coconut oil, a top brain-healthy fat.
Liquid Gold Turmeric Tea
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Honey or stevia to taste
Bring water to a boil. Add turmeric powder and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Add coconut milk and coconut oil. Heat until warmed through.
Sweeten with honey or stevia to taste.
Feel free to experiment with the ingredients and proportions to create the brew that is just right for you.
You can substitute almond milk or regular milk for coconut milk, as long as it contains some fat.
Ghee, traditional clarified Indian butter, works great instead of coconut oil and adds a rich buttery flavor.
Most of us in Western countries are familiar only with the turmeric found in the dried spice section at the grocery store.
But you can buy turmeric root in some produce sections — it looks a lot like ginger, a plant cousin that’s another source of curcumin.
According to the University of Maryland’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide, here are suggested turmeric dosages for adults:
- Cut root: 1.5-3 grams per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1-3 grams per day
- Fluid extract (1:1): 30-90 drops per day
- Tincture (1:2): 15-30 drops, 4 times per day
Their recommended curcumin dosage for a standardized powder supplement is 400-600 mg, 3 times per day.
Look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids that also contain piperine or black pepper extract.
When unsure, follow the dosage instructions on labels. (34)
Turmeric Supplement Side Effects
Turmeric consumed as a spice in food is considered safe.
But I was somewhat surprised to learn that turmeric supplements carry a large number of possible side effects, interactions, and warnings.
While clearly turmeric and curcumin are not identical, their respective side effects and reactions are treated as one on sites like Drugs.com, RXlist.com, and the National Institutes of Health’sMedLine.
All three sites were in agreement that you should not take either curcumin or turmeric supplements if:
- You are pregnant. Curcumin stimulates the uterus and raises the risk of a miscarriage. The safety of this spice while breastfeeding has not been established.
- You are trying to conceive. If you are having trouble conceiving, turmeric could add to your difficulties.
- You have a hormone-sensitive condition. Turmeric can act like estrogen so should be avoided if you have reproductive cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.
- You have gallstones or gallbladder disease. Turmeric can make gallbladder problems worse.
- You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Turmeric increases the risk of bleeding.
- You take medications that slow clotting such as aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, and warfarin. Turmeric increases the risk of bruising and bleeding.
- You have GERD, ulcers, or other stomach problems. Turmeric can make GERD worse and cause gastric irritation, stomach upset, nausea, and diarrhea.
- You take drugs to reduce stomach acid. Turmeric can interfere with the actions of medications like Zantac, Tagamet, and Nexium, increasing the production of stomach acid. (36)
- You take diabetes medication. Turmeric increases the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
- You have an iron deficiency. Turmeric can prevent the absorption of iron.
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Are you doing everything right when it comes to your diet and still not getting the results you want?
Maybe you already:
- Eat veggie-packed omelets instead of cereals and grains
- Choose water over sugary drinks
- Cook your own meals rather than order takeout
But no matter how much you try, does it ever feels like your metabolism has slowed to a screeching halt?
It’s frustrating and discouraging. But not all hope is lost. If your dieting results have plateaued, you may only be a few tweaks away from a breakthrough.
Today, I’ll show you the top 5 metabolism ignition foods. These foods and drink can help you burn fat, shed unwanted pounds and end food cravings. And they can work wonders for your results even if you’ve tried other diets before (with less-than-stellar results).
Metabolism Ignition Foods
Here are 5 powerful foods that can light your metabolism on fire. I call these the metabolism igniters. Add these key foods to an already balanced diet to see the fastest results.
1) Coconut Oil
Contrary to popular wisdom, eating fat is NOT what makes you fat.
The truth is consuming too much sugar is the fastest way to pack on the pounds and slow down your metabolism.
On the other hand, fats — like coconut oil — can actually help you lose weight, shed body fat and keep your thyroid running smoothly. How? Well, this benefit comes from coconut oil’s high concentration of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs).
Whereas most of the fats we consume take a long time to digest, only need 3 steps to be turned into fuel. That’s versus a 26 step process that other fats that go through!
Unlike harder-to-digest, long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) found in plant based oils (think canola and vegetable oils), MCFAs are:
- Easier to digest
- Not readily stored as fat
- Smaller in size, allowing easier cell permeability for immediate energy
- Processed by the liver, which means that they are immediately converted to energy instead of being stored as fat
Because coconut oil is rich in this healthy form of fat, it truly is one of the healthiest, most natural oils you can consume. That’s why I recommend swapping out vegetable oils for coconut oil in your cooking. It’s an easy way to add another fat-burning food to your diet. This is a true case where all fats equal are not created equal
Have you ever wondered why celebrities and fitness pros love eating grapefruit for breakfast?
I’ll give you a hint: it’s not just because they love the citrus-y taste. Instead, it’s because grapefruit is famous for its natural ability to support metabolism health and promote healthy digestion. The enzymes in the fruit help your body break down sugar and boost your metabolism. For these reasons, it can be a great dietary tool to help you drop those last few pounds.
The best part: getting enough grapefruit has never been easier. Simply add a slice to your breakfast or squeeze a few drops into a glass of water or smoothie for amazing benefits to your health.
Or if you prefer, you can try smelling grapefruit essential oil.
The refreshing and cleansing smell can be a potent pick-me-up and metabolism supporter.
3) Bone Broth
I believe bone broth is the number one healing food of all time. It’s my go-to food for supporting:
- Healthy digestion
- Healthier skin, hair and nails
- Lean muscle tissue
- And most importantly, metabolism health
There’s truly nothing more powerful and nourishing than this ancient superfood.
But what is it that makes bone broth so powerful?
Bone broth is rich in the key amino acids proline, glutamine and arginine. These amino acids can help seal openings in the gut lining, support metabolism health and are great for promoting detoxification of your whole body.
Although our ancestors didn't have the medical studies we now have to prove the benefits of bone broth, they did recognize bone broth and its amazing health benefits early on.
For as long as humans have been cooking food over fire, bone broth—the simmering stock of bones from fish, beef, chicken, turkey and other animals that are typically discarded—has been a daily part of life, celebrated by cultures around the world.
You, too, can reap the amazing health benefits of this ancient superfood. Try my brand new bone broth protein powder for a quick and easy way of getting this amazing fat-burning and healing food into your diet.
4) Apple Cider Vinegar
Deep inside your pantry, you may already have the key to losing weight and reducing sugar cravings.
No, I’m not talking about canned vegetables or beans. I’m talking about another pantry staple: apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is one of my top natural remedies. I use it every single day to support:
- Healthy digestion
- And, in some cases, just to get a quick burst of energy
Ingesting it before a meal can help you feel full longer with less food. That combination of feeling full longer and greater digestion can have tremendous benefits to your metabolism and weight loss efforts.
Bottoms up! With apple cider vinegar on your side, you can cleanse, detox, and enjoy these tremendous benefits to your health and weight.
At first glance, turmeric may seem out of place. “What’s this peppery, warm spice have to do with my metabolism?” Let me show you.
For starters, turmeric has a high antioxidant capacity. That makes it a potent immune system booster. Studies also show that turmeric can help remove free radicals from your body. This prevents cellular damage and promotes a healthy immune system. In fact, I believe it’s the number one healing herb of all time.
But more than just healing, other scientific evidence is showing that turmeric may help you burn fat.
Well, it starts in your central nervous system with thermogenesis.
Thermogenesis is how your body gives off heat and maintains your body temperature. Interestingly, the molecules in turmeric can bind to capsaicin receptors in the body and help increase your thermogenesis rate. In other words, consuming turmeric is like pouring jet fuel on your metabolic rate.
Speaking of fat burning, turmeric also enhances detoxification of the liver. When the liver—one of the body’s most important fat-burning organs—is overburdened and flooded with toxins, it can become sluggish.
Turmeric works with your body’s natural digestive and detoxification systems to “ungunk” your liver and keep it — and you — humming along.
Consume my favorite metabolism ignitor
If you’re looking for quick, easy and delicious ways to add one of my favorite metabolism boosting foods to your diet, check out my free ebook, Turmeric: The Spice with Medical, Health-Improving Power.
You’ll discover nature's most impressive ancient healing agent...
Introducing A Game-Changer In Nutrition: Collagen
Collagen is a favorite addition to many lotions and skin creams. And I’m sure you’ve seen the transformation of people using it in plastic surgery.
But what exactly is collagen? What kind of benefits does it bring? And if start using it, how can you get more of it into your life?
For starters, collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. In fact, it’s the second most common substance making up your cells —second only to water.
Collagen is in your muscles, bones, skin and tendons. And it's what gives your skin strength and elasticity, and helps replace dead skin cells.
It truly is the “glue” that helps hold your body together. And when you consume enough of it, it can have some tremendous benefits to your health.
Top 5 Collagen Benefits
If you’re still not convinced that you should be filling in the collagen gaps in your diet, check out these seven benefits.
- Skin and Hair
As we age, collagen production declines. That's right. It’s happening as you read this! You’ll notice it physically first. Early signs include:
- looser skin
- more wrinkles
- And less elasticity.
But don't worry too much (that's bad for stress and aging, too) because you can increase collagen levels through supplementation. And when you do, it can work wonders to help your skin look firmer, increase smoothness, and help your skin cells keep renewing and repairing normally.
Is there anything worse than joint discomfort? Well you can thank a loss of collagen for those joint issues rearing their ugly head. That’s because when we lose collagen, our tendons and ligaments start moving with less ease, leading to stiffness, swollen joints and more.
Think of ingesting more collagen like greasing a creaky door hinge: It’ll help your joints move more easily, reduce joint pain and even reduce the risk of joint deterioration. (1, 2, 3). A recent study even found that collagen is an effective treatment for treating osteoarthritis and other joint disorders. (4)
- Leaky Gut
If you suffer from leaky gut syndrome, a condition where bad-for-you toxins are able to pass through your digestive tract, collagen should be at the top of your list of must haves. It can help break down proteins and soothe your gut’s lining, healing damaged cell walls and infusing it with healing amino acids. It will also help absorb water, keeping things moving freely in the digestive tract. Don't laugh. Regular bowel movements are key to removing toxins and letting your body heal itself.
- Boosts Metabolism & Energy
Up you collagen and you can increase your metabolism. Yes, you read that right. Thanks to the glycine, found in collagen, you can pump more sugar into your body’s tissue to increase energy levels. It also helps in muscle development — and muscles burn more calories than fat.
- Strengthens Nails & Teeth
Ever had peeling and splitting nails? Well, a lack of collagen could be to blame. Collagen protein is also the building block of your fingernails and teeth as well. Adding collagen into your diet regimen can help keep your nails strong and your teeth healthy.
Getting Collagen Into Your Life
Getting collagen into your diet has never been easier.
Thanks to a recent breakthrough, my friend, Dr. Axe has discovered a way to make the benefits of collagen available to everyone. And it comes in an easy-to-consume powder form.
If you’re interested in the benefits of collagen, check what Dr. Axe has developed.
10 Delicious and Nutritious Essential Oil Recipes
Today I want to share my 10 favorite recipes that include essential oils.
Armed with these recipes, you can enjoy tremendous benefits to your health, your body, and your tastebuds.
- The Healthy Orange Crush Smoothie with a splash of Orange Essential Oil. Who doesn’t love a good green smoothie? WIth that said, it’s also important to have some variety in your diet. This smoothie delivers on all fronts. It’s packed with orange fruits and veggies that provide lots of important nutrients and antioxidants. Add in a drop of orange essential oil and you’ve got a flavorful explosion in every sip.
- Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s time to enjoy all the Pumpkin Spice Latte flavor you love — with none of the guilt and even more benefits to your health. You’ll no longer have to wait in line at Starbucks to get your fix with this delicious treat, containing a couple drops of thieves essential oil
- Cranberry Walnut Bread. Looking for the perfect quick bread to take with you to the office, or a party? This gluten-free cranberry walnut bread gets a boost of fiber from the coconut flour, and tartness from the cranberries. Best of all, frozen cranberries can be used, so this can become one of your go-to gluten-free recipes. I like to add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil for a metabolism boosting, antioxidant-rich kick.
- Homemade Lemon Hummus. You won't believe how easy it is to make your own hummus! I almost couldn’t until I tried this recipe. In less than 5 minutes, you’ll have a rich, healthy dip that tastes way better than the stuff that comes in a plastic tub. Add a dash of lemon essential oil for an even fresher taste.
- Quick and Easy Paleo Guacamole. It doesn’t matter if it’s Cinco de Mayo or just a casual weekend get-together. Here’s the only guacamole recipe you’ll need year-round to get your dip fix on. Brighten it up with a couple drops of lemon or orange essential oil.
- Homemade Gourmet Pico de Gallo. This fresh gourmet pico de gallo is the perfect topping for almost any dish. It’s got a peppery taste and lemony flare with none of the calorie-loaded, salt-laden guilt of other dips.
- Mint Watermelon Salad. You can’t go wrong with this delicious fresh fruit salad — it’s brimming with antioxidants and teeming with flavor and fiber. Add in peppermint essential oil for an even more refreshing and cooling bite.
- Raw Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. St. Patties day or not, this Raw Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream will not disappoint. It's fresh, it's minty, and it's GREEN. Doctor’s orders: You have permission to indulge in this raw, vegan, healthy treat any time of the year. The peppermint essential oil is the clincher on this dish.
- Paleo Peppermint Chocolate Truffles. Be careful. Your kids are going to go gaga over these delicious (and secretly nutritious) Peppermint Chocolate Truffles. They’ll never even know there’s heart-healthy ghee, antioxidant-rich raw cacao, and fiber-dense coconut flakes inside. All they’ll know is it taste like gooey chocolatey goodness.
- Gluten-Free Lemon Pound Cake.Who says you can’t have cake when you’re eating Paleo? Try this healthier version of Starbucks Iced Lemon Pound Cake. With a couple drops of lemon essential oil to brighten and freshen it up, it’s irresistible.
Note: If you’re just getting started with essential oils or looking for a high quality, organic 100% pure brand, check out NUMA.
NUMA is Dr. Axe’s brand new 100% pure, therapeutic grade, USDA certified organic essential oils.
To create these oils, he partnered with New York Times Best-selling author and founder of Garden of Life, Jordan Rubin.
And right now, you can get exclusive access to a starter kit of Dr. Axe and Jordan Rubin’s top 5 essential oils (Grab yours today, because I’m not sure how long this offer will last!)